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Great Cities of the Mediterranean 

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Travel back in time to explore the great civilizations of the ancient Mediterranean world. Great civilizations are measured by the greatness of their cities. In this course you will investigate the rise of these cities and how their histories offer revealing examples of the human need to coexist and prosper, and how important it is to understand and assimilate both diverse cultures and the demands of an environment into an urban plan.

In the north, the rich heritage of Greece and Rome dominate. With early beginnings rooted in the literary tradition of Homer, Mycenae and Troy take center stage @ 1200 BCE. The rise of Athens in the 6th-5th Centuries BCE signals the dawn of a new Classical Age. The oldest democracy in the world, the Athenian city-state, would serve as the prototype of urban living for generations to come. Imperial Rome would rise along the banks of the Tiber River and become the hub of a civilization and empire unrivaled in the annals of western society- making the Mediterranean its private lake.

Centrally located, the North African coast has had a major impact on the politics, economics, culture, and religion of the Mediterranean basin. In fact, many consider Alexandria to be the southernmost European city. As the heart of the Arab world, Cairo is called umm el Dunya, the mother of the world. Its hieroglyphs, based on centuries of tradition, were translated by Jean Francoise Champollion in 1824 so the glory of ancient Egypt might be known to all. To Rome, the Punic Empire, based in both Carthage and Leptis Magna, was an imperial thorn in its side that needed to be dealt with.

To the east, all Mediterranean rulers would focus on the Syro-Palestinian landbridge linking Africa and Asia. Linked to this coast would be cities along the spice routes- Babylon, Ur, Ebla, Acco. In addition, Roman engineering technology would allow cities such as Caesarea and Ephesus to arise where previously it was an impossible notion. Finally, desert nomadism would give in to international trade, as the Nabatean capital city of Petra would control traffic from the Indian Ocean across land to the Mediterranean Sea.

Through powerpoint lectures, you will explore these great cities and their place in equally great civilizations. The format is fluid, and any number of sessions can be created based on chronology, civilization or geographic region.

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